Scott Frickel. Sites Unseen: Hidden Hazards and Hidden Lessons for Sustainable and Just Urban Futures

Via Zoom

This talk examines the interplay of urban demography, industrialization and risk management to identify local mechanisms driving the socio-environmental change. The study is informed by spatial and historical comparison of hazardous waste site accumulation in four major U.S. cities (Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Portland, OR) over five decades, from 1955 to 2008.  Data for the analysis include detailed site-, tract-, and city-level information gathered for thousands of current and former industrial sites – most of which remain unacknowledged in government reports and hazardous site lists.  Results show how industrial churning, residential churning, and risk containment intersect to produce cumulative socio-environmental transformations of urban lands. The study holds important lessons for sustainable urban futures.


Scott Frickel is Professor of Sociology and Environment & Society at Brown University and Community Engagement Core Leader for the Brown Superfund Research Program. He is the author of five books, mostly recently with James R. Elliott, Sites Unseen: Uncovering Hidden Hazards in American Cities (Russell Sage Foundation and ASA Rose Series in Sociology, 2018) and with Matthew Albert and Barbara Prainsack, Investigating Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Theory and Practice across Disciplines (Rutgers, 2016). A new multi-authored book, Residues: Thinking through Chemical Environments will be published later this year.